Monday, October 26, 2009

Ricky Gervais to host the 67th Annual Golden Globes

People Magazine reports that British comedian Ricky Gervais will host the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony.
He's provided memorable moments on the Golden Globe awards in the past – and this year Ricky Gervais will have the chance to do so again. The British comedian will host the 67th Annual Golden Globes in January, PEOPLE has confirmed.

“Not only is this the biggest Hollywood celebration of the industry, which includes both film and TV, but also an environment where I feel I can get free reign as a host," Gervais said Monday. "I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don't turn down."

This marks the first time that the telecast has had a host since 1995.

"We are delighted to have Ricky Gervais as the host on our show," said Philip Berk, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Gervais, 48, proved to be a highlight during last year's telecast when he cracked a joke about best supporting actress winner Kate Winslet, her movie The Reader and his own lack of a nomination. "What did I tell you, Winslet – do a Holocaust movie, win an award," he said at the time. "That's the trouble with Holocaust films: There's no gag reel on the DVD."

A four-time Emmy winner, Gervais has also won three Golden Globes. In 2008, his HBO show Extras was named best television comedy at the Globes.

The Golden Globes will be broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 17 from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET). Nominations will be announced on Dec. 15.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's very clear...

AIPAC still dominates in Washington and that's not about to change any time soon.
Israel's national security is predicated on three strategic pillars: The commitment, resolve and resilience of Israel's people; the Israel Defense Forces and other defense agencies; and the "special relationship" with the United States. All three face serious challenges today.

The U.S.-Israel relationship is largely unparalleled in history, one carefully nurtured over decades and in which AIPAC has played a vital role. It is a relationship under attack from numerous quarters, including pro-Arab and generally left-leaning groups, renowned scholars who write scurrilous attacks on the "Israel lobby," and others. It is a relationship showing increasing signs of "Europeanization," where it seems Palestinians and Arabs can do no wrong, Israel no right.

It is a relationship weakened by well-meaning but dangerously misguided Jewish Americans who established the group J Street as a "moderate" alternative to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

My beef is not over the issues. On some I agree with J Street. It is about the best ways of ensuring the long-term vitality of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the security and well-being of Israel.

It is presumptuous of our brethren in the United States, and frankly offensive, for them to believe that they "know better" what is right for Israel. The Jewish state is a vibrant, pluralistic democracy. Only Israel's citizens, who endure the consequences, bear the responsibility for its policies. The place to change Israel's policies is in Israel, not Washington. A corollary of sovereignty is the right to err. We waited for that right for 2,000 years.

J Street's stated position -- that it "supports political solutions over military ones" regarding the Palestinians and "strongly opposes the use of force by Israel or the U.S." against Iran -- is the height of presumption and chutzpah. So was its position earlier this year, during the Gaza operation, when it opined that "escalation will prove counterproductive" and called for an immediate cease-fire.

We all prefer diplomatic solutions. Sometimes it is not entirely up to us; sometimes there is no recourse but military action. The residents of Sderot, now enjoying their ninth months of relative quiet, might question the military expertise behind J Street's assessment. Israel and only Israel will decide whether to attack Iran's nukes.
Go read the op-ed in full.

A related article in The Forward on J Street and their credentials problem.

Jason Segel, star of How I Met Your Mother, shows he has a serious side.
"I think the key is to keep treating him normally and not change the way you would normally talk to someone just because they have cancer," Segel said at the launch of Lacoste's 2009 Pink Croc collection, which benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Turning the subject over to Funny People, here's what's due out on the DVD being released on Nov. 24, 2009:
Throughout the production of the film, Judd Apatow and his entire production
team were mindful of home entertainment audiences, gathering exclusive footage
of the filmmaking process and creating special features that they knew fans
would love. Accordingly, both the two-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray(TM) and
DVD come loaded with exclusive bonus features, including:
- Hilarious gag reels
- Deleted & Extended / Alternate Scenes
- Line-O-Rama: Re-watch some of the movie's funniest scenes, but this time with alternate punch lines
- Feature Commentary with director Judd Apatow and stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen
- Documentaries:
- Funny People Diaries: A documentary in four parts which takes audiences inside all aspects of the filmmaking process from early cast table reads and joke brainstorming sessions, to the various filmmaking techniques employed throughout the production.
- Judd's High School Radio Show
- Raaaaaaaandy!: This mockumentary takes fans on the road with Aziz Ansari's Randy character from the film.
- Music from Funny People: Listen to music from and inspired by the film from James Taylor, Adam Sandler, Jon Brion and RZA
- From the Archives: Watch Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow on a 1990
episode of The Midnight Hour with Bill Maher; Sandler's first appearance on David Letterman; and Seth Rogen doing stand up at 13!
- The Films of George Simmons: Watch footage from George Simmons'
greatest films including Sayonara Davey and Merman
- Prank Call 1990: Watch Sandler as he performs an actual prank phone call, in this archival footage from Judd Apatow's personal video library
- "Yo Teach...!": Go "behind-the-scenes" of "Yo Teach...!", the television show featured in the film Funny People

Funny People on Blu-ray(TM) Hi-Def includes everything on the two-disc
Collector's Edition DVD, plus more exclusive content and interactive features,
- Enjoy more hilarious laughs with two more Line-O-Rama's
- Watch additional Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes
- Additional music and an extensive look at James Taylor on the set
- Over an hour of stand up performances by the film's cast
-Additional archival material including Sandler's second Letterman appearance, Sandler at Los Angeles' famed Comedy & Magic Club and Judd Apatow performing on The Dennis Miller Show
-Hilarious prank calls from Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow
-Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow's appearance on "Charlie Rose"
-U-Control(TM): Funny People music: Universal's exclusive signature feature puts the viewer just a click away from additional insights into the music in the film without ever leaving the movie.
-BD-Live(TM): Access the BD-Live(TM) Center through any Internet-connected player to download more exclusive content, the latest trailers and more!
-My Chat: Using any Internet-connected player, host a text chat with friends while watching the movie in synchronization
-My Funny People Commentary: Create play-by-play video, audio or
text movie commentary and share it with friends through and the BD-Live Center
-My Scenes Sharing: Bookmark favorite scenes from the movie to
share with BD-Live buddies

The Funny People single disc DVD includes a gag reel and feature commentary with director Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen.

Philly transit union workers to strike

This sounds like a bad time to host the World Series.
Philadelphia transit workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a walkout less than a week before the Phillies play their first home game of the 2009 World Series.

Union president Willie Brown says 4,700 workers authorized him Sunday to call a strike if last-ditch negotiations with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority fail.

Brown says he hopes the series would not be affected by a walkout on buses, trolleys and the subway, which runs from central Philadelphia to the stadium. But he says workers have been without a contract since March and says this will be the "last week" they'll work without one.

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney says he hopes a deal can be reached in the next few days.

Philadelphia will host games three and four of the World Series next weekend, and, if necessary, game five on Monday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

RIP: Soupy Sales

Legendary comedian Soupy Sales has passed away at the age of 83.
Soupy Sales, whose zany television routines turned the smashing of a pie to the face into a madcap art form, died Thursday night. He was 83.

Mr. Sales’s former manager, Dave Usher, said the entertainer died in a hospice in New York City after suffering from multiple health problems.

Cavorting with his puppet sidekicks White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion and Hobart and Reba, the heads in the pot-bellied stove, transforming himself into the private detective Philo Kvetch, and playing host to the ever-present “nut at the door,” Soupy Sales became a television favorite of youngsters and an anarchic comedy hero for teenagers and college students.

Clad in a top hat, sweater and bow tie, shuffling through his Mouse dance, he reached his slapstick heyday in the mid-1960s on “The Soupy Sales Show,” a widely syndicated program based at WNEW-TV in New York.

Some 20,000 pies were hurled at Soupy Sales or at visitors to his TV shows in the 1950s and ’60s, by his own count. The victims included Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis, all of whom turned up just for the honor of being creamed.

His memoir “Soupy Sez!” (M. Evans, 2001), written with Charles Salzberg, supplied the precise ingredients for successful pie-throwing: “You can use whipped cream, egg whites or shaving cream, but shaving cream is much better because it doesn’t spoil. And no tin plates. The secret is you just can’t push it and shove it in somebody’s face. It has to be done with a pie that has a lot of crust so that it breaks up into a thousand pieces when it hits you.”

But the key to his comedy went beyond the smashing of a pie.

“Our shows were not actually written, but they were precisely thought out,” he explained in his memoir. “But the greatest thing about the show, and I think the reason for its success, was that it seemed undisciplined. The more you can make a performance seem spontaneous, the better an entertainer you are.”

For all the staged mayhem, the truly unpredictable did occur. “I remember one time we were working with Pookie at the window,” Mr. Sales recalled. “He was doing a bit where he was breaking eggs and one of the eggs turned out to be rotten. My God, the smell was terrible! And I’m sure, watching us at home, everyone knew there was something wrong from the look on our faces.”

Soupy Sales was born Milton Supman in Franklinton, N.C., where his parents, Irving and Sadie Supman, owned a dry goods store. His last name was pronounced “Soupman” by neighbors, so he called himself Soupy as a youngster.

Drawing on the physical comedy of the Marx Brothers and Harry Ritz, he entered show business after graduating from Marshall College in Huntington, W.Va. Working as a teenage dance-show host and D. J. on television and radio, he appeared on stations in Cincinnati and Cleveland, then began “Lunch With Soupy” in 1953 on WXYZ-TV in Detroit. He took the name Soupy Sales in part from the old-time comic actor Chic Sale. After appearing on local TV in Los Angeles and on the ABC-TV network, he made his debut on WNEW in the fall of 1964.

Then came an infamous moment. On New Year’s Day 1965, Soupy Sales asked youngsters to go through their parents’ clothing and send him little green pieces of paper with pictures of men with beards. He later reported receiving only a few dollar bills and said he donated them to charity, but Metromedia, the station’s owner, suspended him briefly after a viewer complained to the Federal Communications Commission that he was encouraging children to steal.
May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jews banned from Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Conference in Egypt

Israelis were banned from attending the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Conference in Egypt.
A United States-based organization’s conference on breast cancer awareness, to be hosted in Egypt, has been touted by international news networks as an example of “unprecedented cooperation” in the region. However, according to Channel 2 news, the celebration of unity may be premature, as Israeli doctors were told at the last minute that their invitations to participate had been rescinded.

The conference will be held in Alexandria, Egypt this week, under the auspices of the American group Susan G. Komen for the Cure – the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization. It is to include meetings between leading researchers from the U.S. and several Mideast countries.

Israeli doctors were invited to the event as well, and several had planned to attend. However, on Sunday night, the doctors received brief notices telling them that they were no longer invited to the conference, by order of Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali.

The notices did not include an explanation of Gabali’s decision.
This is a travesty.